Artist Interview: Jaime Kyle

Trailblazer for women in rock and known as the ‘Goddess of Rock & Blues’, Jaime Kyle has had an immeasurable amount of success over her many years in the music industry.

Keeping busy during the pandemic and lockdown period, the time has come for Jaime to once again give that superb voice to her own songs. Her new album ‘Wild One’ will be released in Autumn. While we wait for that, we have the single ‘Driving With The Brakes On’ featuring the amazing Kris Barras on lead guitar.

We spoke to Jaime about life during COVID, the work that has gone into making new album ‘Wild One’ a reality, how collaborations came about, her position in the rock world and so much more. Below, you can read a transcript of some of the talking points. You can listen to the full thing via Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple Podcasts and watch via YouTube.

Jaime, thank you, it is such an absolute pleasure to speak with you, so thank you for taking the time to do this. I really appreciate it. First things first, how’s your day going overall?

Pretty good. I just got myself together to do this and to do some photo shoots, so it’s going pretty well right now.

Is the photo shoot related to music?

It is. I’m doing the cover for Fireworks magazine and a couple of other things. Just getting some more promo shots as well.

Amazing. We got to talk then, about the past couple of years, really, I want to focus on that mainly and how you’ve managed to cope over the past few years within the pandemic period and obviously the difficulties that were brought to the industry. How have you copped and what, if anything, helped you get through the more difficult periods?

Well, we had kind of a unique situation. When COVID first started, we were in California and we got stuck out here. One day we were so depressed about not being able to play, not being able to go out and make money or anything, and my husband said, what are we going to do? And I said, hey, let’s take our stuff up to the street and play. And if people like it, great. And if they want us to quit, we’ll just quit. So we took our amps up there, the microphones and ran a long extension cord up to the street. We sat on one side of the street and then people started gathering, just a handful of people, because everybody was fearful of COVID. So people were out on their porches and decks and looking out on us and listening. And our neighbour across the street said, hey, can I play drums with you guys?

So we played with him a few times and we said, yes, come on down. So the next Sunday, it ended up being on Sundays for some reason, the next Sunday he came down, he was on the opposite side of the street. We were social distancing and then a couple more people came out and then there was a couple with a baby that came down and they were dancing in the street and the guy said, hey, I’d really like to play with you guys. I play guitar.

My husband said, well, we really don’t need a guitar player because we have two and my husband plays guitar as well. So he said, can you play bass? And he goes, yeah, I can play bass. So all the time we’re going, we hope they’re good, we hope they’re good. And we thought, this is a neighbourhood band, everything is fine. Whatever it is, is fine and going to be fun. And luckily he was pretty good. So then a woman came up and said, I’d really like to sing with you guys. And then we’re really going, oh, my God, I hope she can sing.

It ends up that the drummer across the street is a designer for Apple and the bass player is the co-creator of Instagram. The woman is a product manager at Apple and her husband was the head of all things iPhone related and it just grew and grew. Every Sunday, more people would come and it was wrapping around the block and we just had the best time doing that and we were able to keep rehearsing and keep playing. And then people started making donations to us because, I mean, obviously the other guys in the band didn’t need the money, so it was actually a pretty good time for us.

It must have been almost disappointing when you kind of had to stop doing that.

I know, it’s like we have no free time now. We’re saying, hey, we should go play in the street. It was such a good time and it was such a beautiful thing for all the neighbours. And the people really enjoyed it because it just gave them some sense of normality.

It sounds exactly as you say, it’s such a unique environment. And fingers crossed, as lovely as it was, it will only ever be that, a wonderful memory.

Right.

What other positives can you kind of glean from that period particularly? Obviously, it’s such a university negative time, and that’s what people tend to focus on, so we try to kind of pull out the positive experiences that artists and bands may have been able to get from it.

Well, I think that was the biggest one, is that also we had time to focus on my record, which I had been working on. I’ve been working on it for years because I could have thrown something together, but I wanted it to be really special and I started playing around with styles. I have my own style, but I wanted to play around a little bit and get it a little more bluesy, because I started out singing a lot of blues songs and I didn’t realise how much I missed that and how much I loved it. So I was able to explore by taking the time that I took to do this record and I’m just really proud of it. I think it’s my best work.

Interesting. You’re not wrong when you say time as every band and artists we’ve spoken to over the last couple of years via Zoom or Skype or whatever, tends to answer that question roughly the same.

Yes, it’s pretty great because my husband plays. He can play bass, guitar, anything, and I play guitar and keyboards. So we were able to be pretty much self-contained. And then I started sending things out across to the UK and to different places and having people join in and I engineer and I produced it. It was really a beautiful thing to have all these different collaborations, which would have happened even without COVID. But COVID did allow us to really focus and concentrate on the music.

Would you say you found it easier than as well, to create what you were doing?

Yes, because our focus wasn’t pulled away all the time.

When you say that the new album has been in the works for years. How far back are we talking? When did work start on the album and did you have a clear vision of what you wanted it to be?

You know, I had a few songs that I thought, okay, I really want to rock this up. I was like, I’m getting back to my roots, who I am, and I’m just going to rock it because I play acoustic a lot by myself and it’s hard to really be that rock with just your acoustic guitar. So I kind of tailored songs a little differently.

I decided I really want to rock this up. So I got a band together and I had somebody donate some money for me to go in and do tracks. So it’s been a labour of love. What I couldn’t do with money, I did with time. And since I was engineering, I’ve had more control over things as well, which has been great. I’ve got these great guest guitarists, which I don’t think I can release all the names right now, but, I mean, they’re just fabulous and people have just been saying, hey, I want to play on your record. I’m like, oh, okay!

It’s just been really beautiful how it’s developed. And you know what? It’s the right time for me. It wouldn’t have been right a few years ago to release it.

Do you think that’s why you’ve got such strong feelings about it? You suggested it’s your best work to take. Do you think that comes from the fact that you have put so much effort into it? That so much heart and soul has gone into creating this?

I think being a songwriter, the songs move me and I don’t want to deal with anything that doesn’t move me. So if it makes me happy, hopefully it will make someone else happy because emotionally, I want my music to connect to people that’s important to me. And I think if I’m honest about my feelings and what I’m going through, there’s someone that’s going to relate to it.

What about some of your inspiration for this album? Where did you look and was it quite easy to find topics that meant something to you?

It was. I like to consider myself a fairly deep person. I had kind of a rough childhood and I think the fires that forged my emotions and the way that I grew up made me a better person, made me stronger. I’m sensitive, but it did make me stronger in a lot of ways. And I think that’s why, emotionally, I connect so much with music.

Of course, we’ve had a taste already with the awesome track, Driving With the Brakes On, which features the very immensely talented Chris Barris on it. How did that collaboration come about?

Well, there was a guy that was managing me for a short period of time and he worked with Chris Barris. And I was like, I’d love to have Chris play on this track. And he said, I’ll ask him. And Chris said, yes.

Well, the manager and I parted ways and then I thought, god, I wonder if I can still get Chris to play on this track. He would and man, that track just blisters. He plays incredible.

I can imagine, considering the wealth of talent that you suggest you have on this album that it might be almost like trying to choose your favourite kid when it comes to which collab you enjoy the most.

Well, that’s true. It’s a good problem to have!

Best problem to have. Is this single a good barometer of how the overall album might sound like?

I think it is in my writing. I think people know I kind of move around a little bit in my style. It’s like I’m not afraid to experiment, maybe acoustic, even among these rock songs, so I have some of that. And then there’s one tune that’s got a tiny little bit of a blues kind of jazzy feel to it, but it fits in. It still fits in with everything because it’s still me singing and stylistically, it works. And we have another great, incredible blues guitar player playing on that song, so I don’t think you’ll be bored with it, let’s put it that way. It’s not going to be like same after same after same, but it’s going to pull you a little bit in different directions with a thread running through it all.

I think anybody that knows your work and has paid attention to what you’ve done over the many years will know that variety is such an important part of who you are as a musician.

Yeah, I think you’re right.

When you reflect on the industry as a whole and how things have changed so dramatically over time, the rise of streaming and the likes, are you quite proud then, of your position as a trailblazer?

Yes. Oh, absolutely. It was not easy for me at the time. If they had a female, they would say, We’ve got one, so one female and all the rest male, which I love males, you know, but it’s like, you know, surely they got to know that there are some women that need some things too. And I think women and men offer each other different emotions and different things. So it was really tough.

Sometimes I would run up against somebody that wasn’t used to a female speaking her mind or musically, and so I would have a friend of mine or my guitar player, I would go and say, tell him I want this, and there would be no problem.

I would get that but if I had said it, I would have met with resistance. It’s just the way people are brought up. Some people tune us out and then there are other people that you get total respect from and can just speak your mind. But it was really hard. And I was doing rock in Nashville, where country was so strong, so it was pretty tough.

When you look at the modern landscape of the rock and metal scene in general, it seems to be in a better place than it was.

Yes, I think it is, because I think genres are more open and the independence have forced people to pay attention to people they wouldn’t have otherwise if they had gone through the certain channels to get where they needed to be. They may have gotten stopped somewhere along the way.

Do you feel as though, particularly in the modern era of being an artist in the band, you’ve got a good handle on the requirements that are now needed to get your music and yourself out there? We’re talking social media and all that brings.

I hate it. I’m doing so many different things, producing and directing and all of this stuff and then you have the social media piece of the puzzle. Social media is just not my thing because sometimes I just need to withdraw to see what I’m feeling and check in with myself.

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How do you get the balance right between your requirement to do it as the artist and your dislike of it?

Well, I’m working on that! I’m trying to figure out what that is and how to manage it. I’ve got other things to do that feel more important, but really it’s just a necessary evil that I’m going to have to do. I’m getting better.

With this new album, it does feel like Jaime Kyle artist is just getting started again, which is very exciting for the future. Are you very excited about the future and is this album the next stepping stone?

Definitely. It definitely is. And I think because I made it without a record company and without influence from anybody else, it was more fun. It was like when I was on a huge label, they wanted me to do things a certain way. And creativity is not like that, real creativity, it’s a gift and you take it when you get it and you have to move when you’re prompted. I think the freedom of this has been so exciting because I didn’t have to prove anything to anyone, I just had to please myself. And if I was happy and if people love it, great. But bottom line, if I’m happy with it, that’s really what matters. Not that I think I’m so great, it’s just that the music means something to me. That’s what I’m trying to say, something to me.

It makes sense because if you didn’t believe in the music, I think that would come through to the listener.

Right. And for the future, it’s like I’m already formulating what I want to do for the second record and the possibilities are endless and what I can do and who I can get to help and play on it. And it’s just really exciting because it just seems like the level of musicianship and everything has just really gone through the roof on this, I think, anyway. And I’m a musician, so I’m a fan of great musicians and been fortunate enough to have this album which will have great musicians on it. So anybody that’s a musician will love it for sure. And then songwriters, I hope it’s put together well, that people can relate to it and love it for many different reasons. The writing and musicianship, the sonically, the sound of it, everything. I can’t wait.




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  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!